Wednesday 25 March 2015

Yesterday's Pig

Last night, Louise and I went to a Lu'au, specifically The Grand Lu'au at Honua'ula, and no matter what I might say to the contrary, if you find yourself on Maui in the future, take your future self to this Lu'au. The food was excellent and plentiful, the bar was free, the entertainment was entertaining and the people running it made you feel welcome.

I say that the people made us feel welcome with smiles and pleasant conversation. They would pose for pictures the moment you walked in and for $25 you could walk home in the end with a picture of you and a Hula dancer or a fierce warrior. I couldn't help thinking as I sat there last night enjoying the slight ocean breeze and the hum of hundreds of people that were well sated, that those original Hawaiians should have done less to welcome the first Europeans that arrived. They did make my ancestors welcome and although it is still paradise, I would have loved to see it in the pristine state.

When we first walked in we had to line up to get a wristband and be assigned a table. Louise bought the upgrade which put us in the first row of tables stage right. We then had to kill an hour or so until the lu'au opened up at 5:00PM. Killing an hour at a "guest only" resort isn't the easiest thing to do. I guess we could have wandered around until we found the bar or some place to rest our weary bones. An hour goes pretty fast when you are hungry and you can see them setting the tables and food up. Close to five we got into another line but it went pretty quickly and before we knew it they were posing us next to a Hula girl and taking our pictures ($25 US).

We were showed to our table and advised which were the best seats to pick. Just as we were about to head to the bar, a group of four came up and the one woman asked if we minded moving over one. Why? I suppose that she wanted the prime viewing seat for herself, but sadly for her she was to be disappointed. The rest of the meal and show she turned her back to us, even when we were talking to her table companions. She is missing the Aloha spirit I guess.

There were free drinks and tables full of native crafts. I suspect that a large part of them were manufactured in some third world sweat shop. They were some very neat carvings and a large assortment of jewelry to hang on the necks and wrists of lovely ladies. We took our seats and visited with the new group of four from Seattle who joined our table. Their daughter and her friend had just finished their finals at UCLA. Nice place to decompress after such hard work.

At one point, they announced that it was time to uncover the pig that had been roasting all day. I went over to get a few pictures and see the end product of a traditional pig roast.Traditionally, the pit was dug and layered with river rocks, wood and more river rocks which were heated till they were white hot. The pig was laid on top of the rocks and covered with layers of leaves and finally sand to keep the heat and steam in the pit. They use sheets now instead of leaves but the principle is the same. When they lifted the pig out, it was placed on a huge plank for all to see. It kind of looked disgusting, but that was just my take on things. Dinner was called shortly after and when I got to the pig serving station, I was amazed that they could prep it so fast. The guy said that they couldn't and what we would be eating is yesterday's pig since they had to make sure it was cooked properly and wouldn't give anyone food poisoning. Good plan!

The show started and had beautiful women and men dressed in traditional costumes doing traditional dances. I had no idea how the guys kept their
wrap up and even less idea how the girls managed to keep their coconuts in place. I did notice that coconuts are not one-size-fits-all as each of the girls had different sizes of shell as each needed. I don't think the history that they showed in song, chant and dance was entirely accurate, but it was pretty entertaining.

I do plan on doing some research on the very early history of Hawaii when I get home. I can understand why someone would want to get here knowing that the island is here, but there was a time in pre history when a group of explorers just set out into the ocean without any hope of finding land. It is entirely possible that those early explorers suffered delusions due to eating today's pig rather than wait and eat yesterday's pig.

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